WATERLOO - A growing partnership between the community and police has led to a decrease in crime in Waterloo, according to the police chief.
Reported crimes were down 5 percent in 2003, with offenses like homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault showing a 4 percent decrease. Less serious offenses, including bad checks, drunken driving and disorderly conduct, decreased by 9 percent from 2002.
"We are starting to base our success not on the solvability, but the prevention of crime," said Chief Tom Jennings. "We can't do this alone."
Jennings credited his 116 officers for doing more work - the department handled 66,867 calls for service in 2003, up from 66,327 in 2002 - with fewer people.
"With the budget cuts I think this is probably a trend we are seeing everywhere," he said.
Adult arrests also increased, with 2,013 males and 742 females serving some time in 2003. The numbers are a 2 percent and 12 percent increase, respectively.
Any increase in violent crime is a concern for the chief. The department investigated four homicide cases that resulted in five deaths during 2003, although only three appeared on the original crime report. In 2002, police handled two homicides.
On Jan. 3, Waterloo police discovered the bodies of Alonzo Nakia Quinn, 27, and Rhiannon Marie Olsen, 22, inside Quinn's home on Hartman Avenue. Olsen was nine months pregnant with Quinn's child. No one has been arrested.
Less than two weeks later 4-month-old Skylar Tate was hospitalized with swelling to the brain. He died Jan. 15. His father, James William Tate Jr., 21, admitted to shaking his son and is awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges.
Terence Dwayne Currington, 20, was shot to death in his car six blocks from his home on Adams Street on Aug. 7. Officials believe the shots were fired from a car that pulled up alongside Currington's in the 400 block of Adams. No one has been arrested.
The fourth case - a vehicular homicide - resulted in the death of Traer teenager Keely Lyons. Her death was not originally listed as a negligible manslaughter, but Jennings said this morning that would be changing.
The 18-year-old was headed to a Waterloo restaurant after prom festivities on April 27 when the car she was in was hit by a car driven by Damir Mekic, 21, of Robbinsdale, Minn. Mekic was charged with homicide by vehicle, but his trial was put on hold indefinitely after he failed to appear at a court hearing.
Robbery cases continued to climb. Officers investigated 95 robberies in 2003, compared to 90 in 2002, 71 in 2001 and 75 in 2000. Burglary cases were down 13 percent to 934 in 2003 from 1070 in 2002.
A 33 percent decrease in aggravated domestic assault cases dropped the number of cases to 18, second lowest in more than a decade.
Mayor Tim Hurley is not overly optimistic about the numbers, but added that he isn't particularly concerned either.
"I won't get overly optimistic about this until I see a trend," he said, adding that the numbers do show the department and community are working hard to make decrease then numbers annually. "This is a measure of the efficiency and productivity of our fine police department."